I’m delighted to welcome author and friend, Cheryl Brooks, to the blog today. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Cheryl is a former critical care nurse who resides in rural Indiana with her husband, two sons, one horse, two cats, and one dog. She is the author of the Cat Star Chronicles series, the Cat Star Legacy series, the Cowboy Heaven series, the Soul Survivors trilogy, the Unlikely Lovers series, and several stand-alone books and novellas. Her other interests include cooking and gardening. Cheryl is a member of RWA and IRWA. Visit her online at www.cherylbrooksonline.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. I had a great time sitting down to chat with her about writing and her new novel, Captive:
N: What inspired you to start writing?
C: Basically, what I wanted to read wasn’t being published. I loved Star Trek and Star Wars, but what I wanted was a si-fi story that was more focused on the romance. Plus, I was tired of reading about billionaires and doctors as the leading men. I wanted ordinary people that I could relate to, which is what I have written in my contemporary novels.
N: What comes first—the plot or the characters?
C: It depends on the book. Most of the Cat Star Chronicles and Cat Star Legacy novels started with the characters and the plot evolved from the situation they found themselves in. For others, such as my Soul Survivors trilogy, it was more about the plot in the beginning, but characterization is the heart and soul of every romance novel, so that can’t be ignored.
N: You’ve written many books across several genres—paranormal, hot contemporary romance, romantic suspense—what is the most surprising thing you discovered about yourself while writing your books?
C: I think it has always been about my capacity for imagination. Friends have frequently asked me how I come up with all of this stuff, and I really can’t answer them. I believe it’s just the way my mind works.
N: Can you share with us something about Captive that isn’t in the blurb?
C: Klara is half Davordian and half Zetithian, and she is related to a character in the Cat Star Chronicles series.
N: You are a remarkable world builder and you’ve written over a dozen books in the Zetithian world. How hard has it been to keep that world fresh with each book?
C: Not hard at all! That world has endless possibilities because it encompasses an entire galaxy of worlds and their inhabitants.
N: If you had to describe each of your characters, Moe and Klara, in only three words, what would those three words be?
C: Klara: Capable, Determined, and Beautiful; Moe: Sexy, Honest, and Insightful
N: What was the hardest scene to write in Captive?
C: The ending was definitely the hardest. This book took me two and a half years to write, partly because I had no deadline to meet, but also because I wasn’t sure how to end it. In a romance novel, you always know the hero and heroine will end up together, but this book had more than one loose end to tie up before the end.
N: Of all your books, who is your favorite character?
C: The characters in my current book are always my favorites, but of both Cat Star series, I think Onca, the hero of Rebel, was my favorite. He had cameo roles in previous books, and he wouldn’t leave me alone until I told his story.
N: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
C: I never expected my work to be beneficial to my readers. Not just for the entertainment value, but in making a difference in their lives. When you put a book out for the public to read, some will like it and some won’t, but others will discover a lifeline within those pages. There is a great deal of satisfaction in that.
N: What famous author do you wish could be your mentor?
C: In many ways, Mary Stewart was my mentor. I grew up reading her romantic suspense novels and loved her first-person point of view. When I first began writing, I wrote in third person, but it wasn’t until I wrote a book in first person that I realized what had been missing—that deeply personal point of view. I have since learned how to get inside a character’s head in third person, but in the beginning, first person worked best for me.
N: What do you like to do when you are not writing?
C: I like growing things. In many ways, I’ve always been a caregiver, and plants thrive on the attention.
N: What did you want to be when you grew up?
C: I wanted to raise horses, and I did that for a while, but as far back as I can remember, I used to make up stories in my head—fantasies, really—so the storyteller tendency was there all along.
N: Favorite book when you were a kid?
C: A book called A Horse of Her Own. I can’t recall the author’s name, but it was set in England in the nineteen fifties. It was told from the point of view of a young girl who wanted a horse more than anything, but her widowed mother (who wrote children’s books) couldn’t afford to buy her one. When one of her mother’s books provided her with a small windfall, she finally got her pony, and the story is about how her life changed as a result. As a young girl who was also horse-crazy, I must’ve read it a hundred times.
N: If you could choose three people to invite for a dinner party, who would they be and why?
C: I have absolutely no idea, although dinner with some of my alien characters would certainly be interesting!
She stole his freedom… He captured her heart…
Moriconthan “Moe” Tshevnoe finds an outlet for his anger when a brawl breaks out in a dusty barroom on Haedus Nine. He joins in the melee with enthusiasm, until he is taken prisoner by a beautiful Zetithian woman with electric blue eyes.
Forced into hiding by the cruel tyrant who covets her, Klara Tavock must do whatever she can to survive. Impressed by Moe’s pugilistic talent, she captures him, intending to sell him as a gladiator slave. But there’s something about this sexy Zetithian she simply can’t resist.
The attraction between them is powerful and undeniable, but when Moe and Klara join forces with the local rebels, they trigger a revolution that could destroy them all…
Or set them free.
You can find Cheryl on her website or on social media: